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Europe – Nintendo Download 13th June

Nintendo_eShop_logo

This week’s European Nintendo Downloads are as follows….

Wii U

Wii U VC

Mario & Yoshi (US version) – €0.30/£0.30 - €4.99/£3.49 (Ends July 12)

3DS

3DS Retail

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – €39.99/£34.99
Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns – €29.99/£24.99
Luxor – €11.99/£10.79
4 Elements – €12.00/£10.79
Petz Fantasy 3D – €19.99/£17.99

3DS VC

Sonic the Hedgehog – €4.99/£4.49
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine – €2.99/£2.69
Columns – €3.99 / £3.59
Shining Force: Sword of Hajya – €3.99/£3.59

Wii VC

The Path of the Warrior Art of Fighting 3 – 900 points

[Source: Nintendo]

Nintendo UK: Symphony of the Goddesses Producer Interview

218894-zelda_sotg_tour

Nintendo UK’s Youtube channel has just posted up a new video on their channel: a producer interview from The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses.

This exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the tour provides some stellar insight into the performances and the future of the tour.

[Source: Nintendo UK Youtube]

Warren Spector: Underestimate Nintendo At Your Peril

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It seems this fact has clicked with yet another industry developer (or rather just came public). Deus Ex and Epic Mickey designer Warren Spector remains optimistic that Nintendo can rise out of the shadows. In an interview with GameSpot, the gaming industry trouper held that counting Nintendo out is a foolhardy move.

Warren Spector: “I’ve been pretty up front about my enthusiasm for Nintendo. I think we need a company that’s dedicated to games. Every time I visit Nintendo, I’m relieved to have spent time in a place where you can just feel how much everyone loves games,” Spector said. “And, really, how many times have people written Nintendo off? I think you underestimate them at your peril.”

As outlined in Nintendo’s financial report, the company’s three-pronged strategy to invigorate the Wii U embraces shipping crucial first-party titles out in a consistent manner, perfecting its marketing strategy, and decreasing manufacturing expenses.

Spector also discussed life after the closing of Junction Point in January. Currently, he has not yet decided if he’ll return to the industry, but he is still very much prevalent as he will head up a new game development program at the University of Texas at Austin and will also give the keynote address at October’s Captivate

Warren Spector: “I was exhausted and pretty burned out when [Junction Point Studios] closed. You try working 30 years without a vacation! I kind of got it in my head that I’d stay home until I got bored, whenever that might be,” Spector said. “I didn’t want to go out and look for anything, but I spread the word that I’d talk to anybody who wanted to talk to me–from startup to multinational corporation. I’d listen, and if the perfect thing showed up, I’d do it.”

Warren Spector: ”Honestly, I was kind of hoping nothing that good would show up! Lots of people wanted to talk–very flattering!–and, damn it, there were a handful I couldn’t just reject out of hand,” he added. “So I’m talking to some people and seeing how perfect the opportunities are. You may see me coming back soon. Or you may not. I’m playing it by ear.”

Nintendo is already gearing up for an exciting E3 and have even launched their official E3 website so it’s really only uphill from here.

[Source: GameSpot]

Wii U Update 3.01 U is Live

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WiiU System Update Dialogue

A new system update is available for the Wii U. While this update is not the much anticipated summer update, any improvements to the OS are welcome. Patch notes for 3.01U list only “Further improvements to overall system stability and software compatibility.”

This may well be Nintendo’s answer to the recent developments regarding WiiKeyU.

So there you have it, fire up the Wii U and set it to download, if it wasn’t already running. Let us know in the comments if you see any notable changes.

[Source: Nintendo]

Podcast Episode 6: Spring update, recycling, and abandoning the Wiimote.

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podcast5

A big, shiny episode of the podcast covering the last two weeks’ worth of big, shiny Nintendo news! We talk Nintendo Direct, new old Zelda, the Wii U spring update, console industrial design, new IP vs “rehashing”, and Alex finally tears himself away from Monster Hunter to try out Lego City!

Credits go to:

Intro music:
Runninginjam

The podcast crew:
Charles
Matt
Alex

Topics:
2:40 – Console Industrial Design
9:47 – T3′s horrendous PS4 render
17:05 – Wii: Too soon?
32:42 – Rayman Legends (challenge levels released)
35:38 – Nintendo on “recycling” franchises
58:16 – New Nintendo Direct News
1:07:45 – Super Mario World
1:12:25 – Earthbound (aka Mother 2)
1:13:57 – Zelda ALTTP sequel
1:18:30 – Wii U Marketing
1:29:12 – Wii U Spring Update
1:31:30 – Monster Hunting Progress
1:38:21 – Lego City Undercover

If you have any comments on the discussion or the format, let us know below:

Shin’en Has 2 Wii U Games In Development

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Shin'en

We’re a bit fond of Shin’en Multimedia, so this news from Manfred Lizner (via SuperPhillip Central) is music to our ears:

We are working on two new Wii U games currently. One of them is our first game with network play.

Network play?  Color us interested, especially if it involves a FAST Racing League sequel (or, if Nintendo is listening to us fans, F-Zero).

For more on the imminent 3DS release of Jett Rocket II (Q3 – 2013) and how Shin’en brings about their particular brand of mojo to Nintendo hardware, check out the full interview at SuperPhillip Central.

Swapnote Update Arrives Today in North America

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swapnote-1

swapnote

Everyone’s favorite virtual postcard program complete with personal Da Vinci doodles drawn by aspiring 3DS artists, music, voice recordings, pics, etc. has an update today in the North America 3DS eShop.  Nintendo Life said the update is only a meager 81 blocks which is supposed to not take as long as a Wii U <cough> update would.  They list the new features which were listed and discovered via Utah 3DS Streetpass.

The new features are:

  • At first start up, the app will ask if it can send anonymous data about how you use the application to improve future products. Option to enable or opt out available.
  • You can now use a different color on each page of a message
  • Take photos and record audio while writing, no longer required to import from SD card
  • You can now filter your notes by who sent them, to quickly find a note from a certain sender.
  • Delete multiple notes at once
  • Pressing the ‘B’ button now has an undo/redo function
  • After writing a message, press the ‘A’ button to see how it will be played back
  • A bubble beside each message will indicate how many replies it has received

(Not sure if this was available before) Slide the Circle pad left to slow down writing/drawing animations from notes, or slide the circle pad right to speed up the animation.

Currently it is not known when the update will hit Europe but stay tuned to find out when.

What do you think of the newly added features? If you live in North America how long did the update take for you to download? Let us know here on Nintendo Enthusiast.

[Source: Nintendo Life]

 

Nintendo “News”thusiast Weekly Wrap-up – Week of March 4, 2013

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nintenenthus

nintenenthus

Hello to all of you Nintenmen and Nintendettes out there.  This is the first installment of the Nintendo “News”thusiast weekly wrap-up which chronicles all of the Nintendo news for one week and sums it all up in one big Wario fat rolled lump.  On Monday Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot tried to give some friendly advice to the Big ‘N’ saying that the Wii U needs to sell more and in order to do that they need to lower its price.  Ubisoft hasn’t been playing favorites in the Mushroom Kingdom and there are a lot of mad koopas waiting to storm their castle and knock down their door.  The Rayman Legends fiasco was probably the biggest sucker punch to the gut but like Little Mac in Punch-out fans came out with their gloves on and expressed their anger on a Facebook page with a petition to restore the original release date.

The best thing to come out of any Ubisoft news was mentioning the game Watch_Dogs which is sort of cyber geddon type thriller and its going to  have extra special features for the Wii U.  Guillemot noted that the Wii U version is having a special expanded development team working on it and it looks to be shaping up quite nicely.  Tuesday brought along a much needed Wii U system update which apparently would make it more “stable”–as if it were really out of control before with its sluggish pace? Also on Tuesday Minecraft fans hoping to say, “Can you dig it?” for a Wii U edition can put their away their pickaxes as Mojang’s Jens Bergensten said a Wii U version is, “highly unlikely”.

On Wednesday, the grandfather of gaming and Mario’s papa Shigeru Miyamoto announced that NFC technology is a major priority right now.  Nintendo is working on.  He said they hope to show off some games soon that will utilize the NFC chip inside the GamePad.  Perhaps we’ll see some Baby Mario and Baby Luigi statues dukin’ it out in their diapers? Miyamoto also said that they are working on titles that will utilize the capability to support two GamePads.  Miyamoto-san also mentioned on how he is prepping his team for his retirement soon by “pretending” he is not working on half the projects he would normally be working on in hopes that the younger team members would be more involved.

Things got difficult for Wii U owners in Japan who tried to access the Wii U eShop on Thursday.  Console owners would be with error message 105-3102 which blocked them from eShop use and from updating their firmware.  Nintendo said they were working on a fix for it and hoped to have it done by the end of the week.

Some Donkey Kong fans were going bananas on Friday when it was announced that the Donkey Kong Country Returns 3DS game was going to be developed by Monster games and not Retro studios.  Monster Games developed Pilotwings Resort and Excite Truck for the Wii.  The patch for the eShop nightmare in Japan for Wii U owners was announced and players were given a four step process on how to patch it.

Saturday brought a ribbit ribbit bang bang with the announcement of Gero Blaster.  Gero Blaster is a new side scrolling shooter developed by Nicalis, the developer of Cave Story, which puts the player in a frog persona trying to rescue his girlfriend .  According to Nintendo Life, Nicalis will publish the iOS title which could head to the 3DS as well.

Finally, Sunday news brings a little sunshine with the cute story  of a dad, his daughter, Donkey Kong, and the perils of a girl named Pauline.  In an article from Joystiq a father whose little 3-year-old daughter loves Donkey Kong wanted to know if she could play as Pauline (the poor girl Mario is trying to save) since you can play as Peach (a girl) in Super Mario Bros. 2.  After tinkering around the dad hacked a 2010 NES Donkey Kong ROM using Tile Layer Pro and changed Mario to Pauline and his daughter was thrilled.

That is all for this week’s news.  Leave a comment here at Nintendo Enthusiast and tell  us what you think.

[Source: Nintendo Life]

[Source: Joystiq]

 

 

Trine 2 Developers “happy with WiiU sales”

Over at the wonderful land of Neogaf, a Frozenbyte developer – makers of Trine 2 – has spoken some words about his experience with WiiU’s e-shop, as well as Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. Going by the name of “JoelFB”, he states:

I can’t disclose sales numbers as per Nintendo’s policy (not that we’d be the first in line to do that anyway), but we are happy with them. And by contrast we are not happy with the XBLA/PSN numbers – it seems like they are very hit-driven nowadays and only the top-3 or top-10 games really sell well unless there’s a huge marketing budget attached or similar hype garnered through other means. Quality by itself doesn’t seem to matter much. This is bad news for us because quality is our strongest weapon in the marketing/quality/positioning triangle.

Anyhow I’m fairly confident in saying that Wii U will be our best console platform.

He then went on to say that having a discount for the NA version of Trine 2 the way that Europe got one was “not yet going to be possible”, but that they definitely are looking to replicate in North America the success they’re having in Europe whenever it becomes possible.

He also talks about the upcoming Australia and New Zealand versions of the game, and the incoming patch for all versions. You can read his entire statement over at neogaf.

Study Video Games Through MIT OpenCourseWare

mit_open_courseware_feature

This is a cross-post with sister site Gaming Enthusiast. If you’re interested in other gaming platforms besides Nintendo, make sure to check out the site!


I just received an interesting newsletter from MIT's OpenCourseWare service. For those not in the know, OpenCourseWare is a selection of MIT’s material, made free online for your learning pleasure. It’s a fantastic little thing, and the wealth of free educational material available there only keeps expanding.

Point in case, the newsletter I received from them listed one very interesting new course: Introduction to Videogame Studies.

The course description reads as follows:

This course offers an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of videogames as texts through an examination of their cultural, educational, and social functions in contemporary settings. Students play and analyze videogames while reading current research and theory from a variety of sources in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and industry. Assignments focus on game analysis in the context of the theories discussed in class. Class meetings involve regular reading, writing, and presentation exercises. No prior programming experience required. Students taking the graduate version complete additional assignments.

It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the course material is rather sparse right now, offering only lecture notes in pdf format (the kind that professors use to prepare for class, so they’re very abstract), and a list of the assignments offered in the course, with no solutions available.

Other, more complete courses go as far as offering lecture videos, recitation videos, course notes, quizzes, and exams; with time, the “Introduction to Videogame Studies” will hopefully become comparably complete. If you want to stay informed in regards to this, or if you are just impressed by OpenCourseWare in general, I suggest you sign up for their newsletter.


FireBrand Games Working on Un-Announced Multi-Platform Game

images

The most logical theory would be the Wii U port of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, considering that Criterion have their hands busy with the PS3, 360 and Vita versions!

Firebrands previous titles include Cartoon Network Racing, Ferrari Challenge, TrackMania DS, Need for Speed, Hot Wheels, Cars, NASCAR… do you see a pattern?

[Source]

test

on 3ds

Defending Video Games: Escapism is Not the Same as Addiction

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Defending Video Games: Escapism is Not the Same as Addiction

by Alex Balderas


Last month, I had my now-yearly dose of escapism: I went away from June 7th to June 10th to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. For those not familiar with music festivals of that scale, this is what you need to know about Bonnaroo: you show up at the Bonnaroo farms in Tennessee, park your car, set your tent and camping equipment among tens of thousands of other attendees, put on lots and lots of sunblock, drink yourself a good time, walk over to the main festival grounds, see your favorite bands give some of their very best live performances ever to some of the liveliest crowds around, nap under a tree’s shade, then rave to your favorite DJs late into the night (or morning). Then, you go to sleep, you wake up, and you rinse and repeat for another 3 consecutive days.

Bonnaroo escapism shirtEscapism at its best.

 
It truly is a unique experience, but perhaps the Bonnaroo organizers can explain it better than I possibly could:

BE IN HERE
Your Bonnaroo is a snowflake that will soon melt. Leave the world Out There out there, and while you’re In Here, take advantage of your one shot to make the most of your experience. Savor every flavorful moment. (Bonnaroovian Code)

 
Sound familiar? That process, to “leave the world Out There out there”, is exactly what gamers go through with major game releases. Did you stay the whole weekend at home so you could play the new Legend of Zelda game without interruptions? Did you buy the game on day 1 and immediately put it in your disc drive the moment you got home? Did you use one of your vacation days at work so you could take advantage of a “long weekend” to try and finish the game before the dreaded Monday came? Or, if you didn’t finish it and stayed up playing very late on Sunday night, did you call in sick in the morning? If so, be warned: you might be suffering from a serious sociological disorder called videogame escapism.

Hillary Clinton videogames escapismThat’s it: no more videogames for you.”

 
But, is it really escapism? After all, every single one of those steps are also taken when booking a certain special “weekend getaway”. Many families are known to take long weekends to visit the Grand Canyon (to the demise of children, who have no interest in seeing gigantic rocks outside of Halo); my own brother took a couple of days off work so we could drive together to the Bonnaroo festival; even Christmas and New Year festivities are very much treated like special getaways, with some corporations giving their employees the chance to go home and be with their families for a time, without (work-related) worries.

So it is with videogames. When you went to the store for the midnight release of Mass Effect 3, you knew none of your friends were going to get ahold of you anytime soon, and that was fine because that weekend was for you alone. Maybe they actually did, or maybe you got bored of the game and returned to your real life, but hey, that’s no different than finding out George Washington’s gigantic rocky head is a tad overrated.

Mount Rushmore boring escapismBOOOORIIIIIING

 
The point is, when you buy a game that you know will require a considerable time investment you prepare yourself: you warn your friends, you maybe take a day off work, and you even pray nothing out of your control will force your journey to end too soon. You take the same precautions as you would before a 4-day summer festival, so the next time you stand in line for the midnight release of “Space Romance Conversation Shootout 3″, don’t admonish yourself for the shameless 40 hours you’re about to spend sitting in the sofa, with lots of booze and little sleep or food. Sometimes, it’s not escapism; it’s a getaway.

Even if the getaway ends with you getting fired, evicted, and forced to live in a tent city.

homeless man with dog escapismStill a better ending than Mass Effect 3.

 
 

Nintendo Enthusiast go hands-on with the Wii U and are happy to report it was Awesome!

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Nintendo Wii U Impressions

Nintendo Wii U Impressions

Nintendo Enthusiast goes hands-on with the Wii U and are happy to report it was awesome!

by Jon Ross (Darth_Vagrance)


Introduction

The San Diego Comic-Con is now over and thanks to one of our contributors, Jon Ross, we come bearing gifts! Nintendo set up shop at the Marriot Hotel with their “Wii U Experience,” and Jon headed over to get up close and personal with the anticipated new Nintendo console. He and his brother managed to video capture some of their sessions with New Super Mario Bros U, Pikmin 3, ZombiU, Project P-100, and NintendoLand.

If you want the TLDR version, it’s this: The Wii U rocks and many people don’t even know it. It’s quite possibly everything you wished for and more. People aren’t grasping just how good some of these games are, and all of them, so far, are loads of fun. ZombiU was the star of the show, proving that survival horror can once again be survival horror without turning into an action movie (looking at you, Resident Evil.) Pikmin 3 left gamers anxious to see more. New Super Mario Bros U will satisfy Mario games with its diversity, fun, and enhanced visuals. Project P-100 seems really deep, and it’s obvious that the demo is only scratching the surface of what it has to offer. And NintendoLand is a lot better than most people imagine. These aren’t just mini-games; they’re somewhere in-between mini-games and real games and they’re actually quite fun.

But you probably will want the full version, so keep on reading…

-New Super Mario Bros U-

How it Works: Similar to New Super Mario Bros Wii, you’ll have the option to play as Mario, Luigi, a yellow Toad, or a blue Toad. But in New Super Mario Bros U, you can also choose to play as your Mii character.

The new flagship power up this time around is the flying squirrel suit. This suit allows you, of course, to glide, but there’s a bit more depth to it than just that. You can change direction mid-flight, and you can control the speed of your glide. Holding forward makes you go faster, and not pressing a direction at all makes you glide slower. At any time, during your glide or otherwise with the squirrel suit, you can shake your controller and give yourself a boost upwards, about the height of a full jump. But after this vertical boost, you can no longer glide at all. Instead you can only sort of flutter back to the ground. And that’s not all the squirrel suit lets you do– it also allows you to cling to walls. It’s basically like stalling out on a wall jump. Instead of sliding down the wall like you would in previous Mario titles, with the squirrel suit you will just cling in place until you decide to drop or jump off. Many platformers allow you to hang on to a wall and now it’s Mario’s turn to try out this feature.

Baby Yoshi also makes a comeback in this game,but with a twist. With baby Yoshi in hand, give the controller a shake and he’ll inflate like a giant balloon, initially launching you into the air and then allowing for a much slower decent. Additional shakes while in air will give you small vertical boosts.

In the all new “Boost Mode“, you can have up to 4 players with Wiimotes running through a course and an additional fifth player using the touch screen of the Wii U Gamepad to add blocks to assist your friends, or to tap and stun enemies.

My Thoughts: Let’s talk about the multiplayer mode. To put it bluntly, being the player with the Wii U Gamepad in multiplayer and helping out the other players is’t that much fun. What I did enjoy immensely however, was trolling the crap out of them. I’d try to strategically place blocks right above their head when they went for a jump so they’d hit it and fall in a pit. Or to continuously place blocks over the opening of an inverted pipe so they had a hard time getting in. It was hilarious messing with the other players.

What about the single player game? Playing with the Wiimote, juggling all these enhanced vertical and horizontal movement techniques with the squirrel suit, adds a lot of options to your traversal of each course. Now throw in some flying squirrel enemies that can do basically all the same moves as you and it gets very interesting. I’m a HUGE 2D Mario fan and with the new additions to gameplay, as well as the enhanced visual style and extra modes of play with the Wii U Gamepad, it looks like this next installment is sure to satisfy.


-ZombiU-

Single Player: In the single player mode you play as a survivor in the zombie apocalypse happening in London. You start off with a standard pistol and a cricket bat, which you can switch between by tapping their respective icons that are conveniently located in the upper leftmost corner of the touch screen. No matter what weapon you have equipped, hitting the right trigger performs a push move that gives some distance between you and your zombie foe. Holding the left trigger readies your equipped weapon and the right trigger fires, or in the case of the cricket bat, ‘Z-left’ readies the weapon and ‘Z-right’ takes a swing.

There’s an inventory that you can bring up on the touch screen by pulling down a little tab, much like the notifications window on your smartphone. This causes your in-game character to crouch down and pull out his backpack, with the camera backed out to third person so you can see what’s around you. Now keep in mind this does not pause the on screen action, you’re still vulnerable to attack. It’s a great little effect that adds immersion to the survival horror aspect of the game. You also have an area scanner that can be activated by holding down the left bumper button (L). You hold it as if youre looking ‘through’ the screen, and use the motion sensors to look all around the in-game world. In the scanner mode, line up the reticule on the touch screen with something highlighted white, and hold down the on screen button to scan it. This gives you a read-out of what items the object in question might be carrying, be it a closed chest or a dead body.

There are several other uses for the touch screen as well, including a crossbow’s scope, which is controlled in a similar manner to the scanner, a lock picking device, and a keypad, that appear whenever they are contextually appropriate.

Multiplayer: In the multiplayer demo, one person would play as a survivor using the Wii U Pro Controller, and the other was the Zombie Overlord playing with the Wii U Gamepad. The survivor’s job was to run around to each of 3 flags and capture the area by defending it from zombies for a set amount of time (think Halo’s “Territories” multiplayer mode). The game plays almost identically to the single player version for this player, with the only exception being, of course, the lack of all the touch screen components.

The Zombie Overlord is controlled by the player with the Gamepad. This puts you in a sort of Real-Time Strategy game, in which you have the entire map on the touch screen. Your goal is to select which types of zombies spawn and then place where they spawn  in order to either capture the flags for yourself, or kill the other player. There were 4 different types of zombies, all with slightly different attributes, color-coded based on abilities. The red zombies (the ones dressed like Buckingham Palace guards) are the only ones that can actually capture the flags. The “blue” zombies are like sentries, only attacking if the survivor comes within range. White-colored zombies are your standard “search and destroy” units, and the yellow zombies perform the same basic hunting functions, just a little bit faster.
With the entire map at your fingertips, you can either slide your finger across the touch screen to scroll around the map, or use the left stick to move your viewpoint. Areas of the map that you cannot place zombies are highlighted in red; these would be areas outside the play area, or too close a radius from the survivor character. To place a zombie, simply tap the icon on the lower part of the screen denoting which unit you would like, and then tap again a valid place on the map for him to spawn.

My Thoughts: This was the star of the show for me. Playing the single player campaign was an intense experience, filled with atmosphere, and even a few moments that made me jump. It was refreshing playing a true survival horror game. All the moments that you need to look into your backpack to equip weapons, or open up a chest and loot it’s contents need to be planned out well in advance. If you’re not in a safe area when you do all of these things, youre going to get chomped. I was initially worried that looking back and forth between the TV screen and the controller screen like this during these intense moments was going to be bothersome, but I quickly found that this wasn’t the case at all. It really added to the atmosphere of the game and heightened the tension immensely.

The multiplayer is wrought with potential. The strategy involved with playing as the zombie overlord was really rather deep. From the short time that I was able to play, and from what I watched of other people playing, it seemed like there were two basic play-styles. You could either try to kill the survivor by sending out your mobile units (white and yellow units), or you could go for the flags and set up defenses (red and blue units). I’m anxious to see the finished product and feel out the depth of these strategies to their fullest.
After playing this demo, ZombiU has made it’s way onto my ‘Most Anticipated Games’ list. Easily.


-Pikmin 3-

How it Works: This was the only game at the Wii U Experience that was played completely with the old Wiimote + nunchuck combo. The controls are almost identical to it’s remade predecessors on the Wii. Point with the Wiimote to aim where you’re going to throw your Pikmin. Control your character’s movement with the nunchuck’s analogue stick, and recenter the camera by tapping the nunchuck’s ‘Z’ button. At any time, press either left or right on the d-pad and your character, along with your current party of Pikmin will roll out of harms way. Instead of the swarming function of the previous titles, Nintendo’s added a nifty lock-on feature. Simply point at an enemy and hold the Z button and you will lock on. Now, when locked on, give the nunchuck a shake and your hoard of cronies will all charge out and attack/interact wtih your locked on target.

My Thoughts: The new rolling-dodge technique is a very welcome addition, and comes in handy particularly during the demoed boss battle, where a giant armored, bug-like, lizard creature charges at you in a straight line and you must dodge perpendicularly like a matador to avoid your little leafy buddies getting chomped. It’s very nice to now have a quick way to get out of danger.
The new rock Pikmin were neat, and I could see some potential with puzzle-like challenges with them and glass objects. But in the demo, they essentially performed the same basic tasks as any of the other pikmin would. I’m really anxious to see more of this game. Honestly, the demo didn’t do a great job of making the game feel fresh for veterans of the franchise. The game obviously has a lot more to it and a short demo simply wasn’t enough. I’m hoping Nintendo has more up their sleeve that will make Pikmin 3 compelling whenever we finally get our hands on the full version.


-NintendoLand

The Bottom Line: The Gamepad-player options in NintendoLand’s mini-games are always a blast to play. But, most of the Wiimote-player modes are pretty average– nothing we haven’t seen before. Except for Luigi’s Mansion, of course, which was hilarious to play with any controller.

The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest

How it Works: There are two options for play in this game. You can either play with the Wii U Gamepad, or with just the Wiimote (no nunchuck). Basically, the Wiimote is to play as a swordsman and the Gamepad is to play as an archer. Wiimote players will be holding the Wiimote vertically, like a sword. Your swordsman character, appropriately attired in the legendary hero’s garb, walks on his own throughout the course and it’s up to you to control his swordplay. The sword feels about 1:1 with your actions with the wiimote. You can slash in any direction with a quick flick of the wrist, or point your wiimote to the sky to charge up a powerful spin attack. You’ll face standard enemies at first, like bokoblins and chuchus, that go down with just one slash no matter what direction. But you’ll soon come across enemeis that require a bit more precision. The bokoblins will now be donning shields along with their swords, and your task is now to slash in the direction opposite or perpendicular to the direction theyre holding the shield. This is similar to Skyward Sword’s battle strategies.

With the Gamepad, you play as an archer. Aiming is done by moving the controller all around you, and to fire an arrow, simply pull down on the right analog and let it go. Pulling down all the way and letting it charge a bit will fire off a powerful shot, while just lightly flicking the stick downward will fire a lofty, less powerful shot. Every time you start pulling back to fire an arrow, your character, that is still walking on it’s own just like the swordsman, will slow down. You can also use this mechanic to gain some distance between the camera and your character to get a better vantage point on the action.

My Opinion: The swordplay was fun, but it felt almost exactly the same as the swordplay in Wii Sports Resort. The Zelda theme did make for a nice change of pace, but I’ll be curious to see if Nintendo can keep it feeling fresh in the later stages.

Archery was much more entertaining. The aiming was surprisingly precise with the W U Gamepad’s motion sensors, and it was very satisfying to save your swordsmen cohorts when their slash get blocked by a Bokoblin and are about to get whacked.

Animal Crossing Sweet Day

How it Works: Animal Crossing: Sweet Day allows for 4 people to play with wiimotes (held horizontally), and one person to play with the Gamepad. Wiimote players play as friendly townsfolk walking around trying to collect candy that they shake out of trees by standing on a button right at the base. Some trees only have one button, but others have 2 or 3 requiring that number of players to stand on them for a few seconds before the tree releases it’s candy. The townsfolk’s goal is to collect 50 pieces of candy before the time runs out.
The Gamepad player controls 2 characters at the same time. One with the left stick and one with the right. His goal is to chase after the townsfolk who are collecting candy and lunge at them by pressing the ‘Z-right’ and ‘Z-left’ buttons to attack them with a giant fork, making them spill their candy cache.

My Thoughts: Playing with the Wiimote is alright. You dont really have any defences against your attackers, all you can do is run away and hope the lunges from the Gamepad player miss. There is an interesting dynamic in that the more candy you’re carrying, the slower you walk. So if you’re about to be snagged, you have the option of dumping some candy and sprinting to safety.

Playing with the Gamepad was kind of disorienting at first. It took a little while to get used to moving 2 characters with 2 sticks across the game board, but once you kind of get the hang of it, its pretty satisfying to use both in conjunction with each other to close in on the townsfolk.

Donkey Kong Crash Course

How it Works: In this game you control a little triangular cart-like object by tilting the Gamepad left and right. The harder you tilt it, the faster the car will speed around the course. There are weirdly positioned ramps and drops to navigate; having your little cart tip over on it’s head or slam too hard into a wall will destroy it causing you to lose a “life”. It’s made more complex by having levering ramps along the way that you control by pressing either the ‘Z-r’ or ‘Z-l’ buttons (triggers) – so you’d come up to a ramp that appears to be a dead end, hold ‘Z-r’, and the ramp lowers, opening a new path (just be sure to keep holding the button until you clear the ramp or you might inadvertantly flip yourself over). There are also pullies and elevators that you wind yourself over with by rotating the left or right analoge stick.

There was only one obstacle course shown, but I didnt see a single person reach the end of it without expiring their life pool. It’s quite challenging. In this game you could either look at the TV or the Gamepad. The TV was an expanded view of the entire obstacle course and the controller was zoomed in and focused on your cart. It seemed like most people preferred watching from the Gamepad’s pespective, which made the TV’s view kind of pointless unless you had spectators watching you play.

My Opinion: I liked this one a lot. It was very challenging. The tilting controls were very responsive. Slight tilts would allow for slow and very accurate movement, and harder tilts would have you zipping across platforms at high speed. I never felt like my cart was out of control. I cant wait to see more crazy courses for this game.

Luigi’s Mansion

How it Works: You have 4 players with Wiimotes (held sideways) moving with the d-pad and shining their flashlight with the 2 button. Their goal is to walk around and find the Ghost by shining their light on him; teamwork is key here. The only way to see the ghost is if you shine your light on him, or if a lucky flash of lightening hits an area that he’s in. But here’s the fun part, you *feel* when the ghost is near you; the wiimote will start to rumble intensly when the Ghost is in a certain proximity with your character.

Shining the flashlight on the Ghost causes his health to drop, just like in Luigi’s Mansion, and the goal is to defeat the Ghost by bringing his health down to zero. Be careful about shining your flashlight too much, it has a battery that will run out if you’re overzealous, and will leave you running defensless for one of the batteries that spawn, not-too-frequently, in random areas of the map.

Now playing as the Ghost (on the WUpad) is a little like playing Pac-Man, except instead of Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde zipping about semi-randomly, you’ve got a team of 4 coordinated human players hunting you. Your goal is to incapacitate each of the four players, which you do by simply walking into them – the Ghost automatically grabs your opponent and from there you can drag them away for a limited time before they fall to the floor. Their teammates then will come to try and revive them by shining their lights on the downed player.

My Thoughts: Luigi’s Ghost Mansion was the most popular of the NintendoLand attractions. There was constantly a crowd around this booth, and for good reason. It’s hilariously fun. Playing as the Ghost on the Wii U Gamepad is incredibly intense. Navigating the corridors, attempting to down one player to set a trap for the others, all while listening to their attempts at coordination really gets your blood pumping.

It is just as fun playing as the Ghost hunters as well. You absolutely must communicate with your team, as the only way to know where the ghost is most of the time is by feeling the rumbling of your controller. Trying to cover a teammate, while he’s reviving another, while also watching your own backside is a daunting task while you’re feeling the rumble of the Ghost nearby.

Takamura’s Castle

How it Works: In this game, you hold the Wii U Gamepad sideways and flick ninja stars from the touchscreen in your hand up to the targets on the TV. The game registers the difference between a hard/fast flick, which sends the ninja star shooting onto the TV like a bullet, and a slower/gentler flick, that lobs the star onto the TV more like a frisbee. The more consecutive enemies you can hit without missing, the more points you are awarded. You face enemy ninjas that are static at first, but progressively move faster and faster as you continue, eventually throwing ninja stars and bombs back at you that you’ll have to knock out of the air with your own projectiles.

My Thoughts: This one was really fun. The very first thing I noticed was the surprisingly accurate aiming. There is no IR pointer control here, just the motion sensors inside the WUpad itself, and it’s still capable of rather impressive accuracy. It works very naturally to aim with the Gamepad and launch stars off it. From what I saw watching people play this little demo, most people (including me at first) were just launching ninja stars as fast as possible and ending with a score in the mid 100′s. But if you were careful and picked your shots, you could get up into the 300′s. I could see myself playing this one over and over trying to get a better score.


-Project P-100-

How it Works: In this demo, you play as the leader of a group of minions, of which you control the entire pack. At face value it may look a lot like Pikmin, but it’s really quite different. You have your basic attack that is performed with the ‘X’ button, this sends your entire party smashing into enemies as one giant hoarde. Using this attack builds up a meter that’s denoted with batteries at the top of the screen. You use this power to perform your special, or “Unity Attacks”, which have your minions forming their bodies into the shape of one giant weapon. These are used by drawing symbols on the touch screen of the WUpad, then activating them by pressing ‘A’. The demo featured three of these attack types. The first has your party of minions forming into a giant fist by drawing a partial circle. Next is a sword, formed by drawing just a vertical line. And finally a gun, formed by drawing a sideways “L” shape. Once either of these three special weapons are activated, you use them by pressing the ‘A’ button. But you dont need to draw the shape every time you want to use your sword. Once you’ve activated it once, that one weapon is now available to use every time you press ‘A’. You only need to draw again when you want to use a different weapon. While in combat, you also have two defensive moves. The left trigger will form your party around you into what looks like a jello mold, which acts like a shield. Or you can hit the right trigger and have your party bound out of the way like a Slinky.

The right stick controls the movement of you minions which is used somewhat contextually. There are other civilians that you will run across that can be added to your party by using the right stick to draw out your minions in a circle around them and pressing ‘A’. Or later in the boss battle section when you’re fighting on top of a giant alien robot’s mechanical arms, you use your minions to draw a line between the arms and then press ‘A’ to form them into a chain that you can walk across.

My Thoughts: This game was very interesting. I felt like the demo was just barely scratching the surface of what this game has to offer. The combat was fun, and using the touch screen to perform those special attacks worked well. You very quickly get to the point of being able to draw your next weapon without even looking down. It’s hard to put my finger on why, but for some reason this game left the biggest lasting impression on me. It’s the one that I was thinking about days after I had played it. I want to get in deeper. I want to figure out all the nuances of the controls and combat mechanics. This demo was just not enough for me.

Thanks again to Jon (Darth_Vagrance) for the valuable footage, and for spending crazy time editing and uploading the footage, as well as writing the above impressions.

Videogame Banana Swords

banana link to the past

Videogame Banana Swords

by Alex B.


I make it no secret to my fellow Enthusiast staff (maybe I should) that I visit SomethingAwful.com frequently. They have hilarious writers, weird posters, weirder posters, and weirdly hilarious photoshop artists. The “Photoshop Friday” articles are particularly amazing, and I’m typically there every Thursday night waiting for the weekly installment. Well, the last two weeks have been particularly hilarious, weird, and artistic. They held a photoshop session-thread called “Replace Swords with Bananas”, and came up with some amazing results. Here, however, I’ll repost only the videogame-related banana swords photoshops. All banana swords credit goes to SomethingAwful and their respective forum members, of course!

What can we really expect from Ouya?

Ouya Feature

This article is a cross-post with our sister site, Gaming Enthusiast. If you’re interested in other gaming platforms besides Nintendo, make sure to check the site out!

Ouya console

Unless your head has been buried under the sand for the past few days, you have no doubt heard of Ouya by now. This little machine is taking up the gaming industry by storm, and if the Kickstarter campaign is of any indication, gamers are drooling themselves dry for this thing.

At first glance, it would be silly not to drool yourself dry with something this amazing. Just look at some of the crazy promises and buzzwords that have been thrown out: “all games are free”, “hackers are welcome”, “open market for developers”; a wireless traditional DA controller with a touchpad, specs that would seem respectable, and the fact that every single console is also a development kit. It sounds amazing! This is the future of gaming! I want one on day 1!

But what if it doesn’t take off? What if developers don’t support the machine at large from the beginning, and what if gamers just simply don’t buy it?

Ouya controller and console

These are very possible outcomes, after all. First of all, let’s look at the kind of support that developers can give the Ouya:

  • Free 2 Play: I personally find this to be the most obvious and easy kind of support the Ouya will receive. Developers can provide free game experiences where the gameplay can be expanded by microtransactions.
  • Free games (with advertisements): This is a method used by Flash games in popular sites like Newgrounds, Kongregate, and even a few smartphone games and apps. It makes sense exactly for that, but nothing else. How is a developer supposed to make back the hundreds of thousands spent in making a high quality game with nothing but advertisements? When your free games are only of about the same quality as Smartphone games, then there really isn’t much to boast about.
  • Indie games: This one is difficult to assess. On one hand, the Ouya has an advantage over other platforms for indie games like Steam because of the freedom the open Android market presents. That, however, is also what can ultimately limit the support from developers, as the lack of strict quality control can also lead to a marketplace that buries the high-quality games under a slush of shovelware, and entering such a marketplace can be thoroughly intimidating (I’ve seen the App Store and Google Play compared to the lottery, in terms of how rare it is to actually be successful in it).
  • AAA games: You know what I’m talking about: cinematic experiences, neck-deep Action RPGs, Open-World games of previously unheard-of magnitudes, and, generally, games that cost millions of dollars to make. This is a pretty massive point of contention, as these are the kinds of games that really put the hardware in the mind of the consumer. In my experience, I can not really care to get a gaming platform that doesn’t have a couple of massive games for me to look forward to. I got the Xbox 360 for the Dead Spaces and the Mass Effects; I got a Wii to avoid going through Zelda and Metroid withdrawal symptoms; I’ll get the PS3 when it’s time to play the Last Guardian; and I’ll get the WiiU, once again, because I’m starting to see Goombas, Octoroks, and Zoomers crawling up the walls, and I need my fix. Will games like these show up on the Ouya? You know what, I really don’t think so. I think developers could never pull the kind of money necessary to make these experiences. But I know what you’re thinking: “in that case, they can simply get Publishers to back them up financially, silly!” To that, I say, no they can’t. The very reason there are so many licensing issues and strict regulations around traditional console development (or even with Steam) is that Publishers like to feel some security when making multi-million dollar deals, and an open market like the App Store, Google Play, and the one that Ouya is promising, simply can’t offer that. If Publishers did end up convincing the Ouya designers to implement some regulations, then the freedom that was originally promised will no longer be there, and the many indie developers that funded Ouya to begin with would grab their bags and leave for greener pastures.

That last point I made is really haunting me, because I truly want this Ouya thing to succeed. Surely there must be some way for developers to gather millions of dollars and make the games they don’t see even in their dreams, right? Some way that completely skirts around publishers and makes them unnecessary for the process, that is.

Ouya interface prototype

I guess this is where we come back to Kickstarter. Can Kickstarter, or some other similar platform for crowd-sourcing, become such a tremendous force with the public that developers can routinely make use of it and keep the gamers happy with each successive game? Are gamers willing to routinely put money into games long before they get made? It’s perhaps a worthy cause, to see developers working to the very limit of their creativity, but I wonder if people can follow and support such a cause without having first seen great successes.

Furthermore, even if it was the case that developers secured all that money to make games (Tim Schafer did get over a million bucks from Kickstarter to work on his upcoming game, after all), these games take upward of 2-3 years to be completed (and that’s when they have Bobby Kotick and Satoru Iwata breathing down their necks), which means a really slow audience growth, which in turn means lesser interest from other developers.

I guess what I’m saying is that this is definitely an uphill battle for the designers of the Ouya, and considering the many rising concerns of gamers about the inherent freshness of the Ouya (encapsulated best in this image that is currently circulating through gaming forums), this particular hill may be one covered in thorns.

Having said that, I’m sure most of us can appreciate a good market disruption here and there, so here goes to Ouya, that its promises and its best intentions may come true.

Mouse Maze

Mouse Maze